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Thread: Horrible Experience With American Airlines

  1. #1
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    Default Horrible Experience With American Airlines

    Figured I'd share some bad experiences I had flying with American Airlines recently. Interested to see how people in similar situations have handled things, especially how other airlines go about it or if trip insurance would have helped in this case.

    Situation:
    - Flight gets cancelled
    - agent unable to properly re-book to best available alternative (didn't know how the system worked, other customers helped by other agents had little problems)
    - re-books onto a flight using the wrong code share (essentially 'flight doesnt exist') which is also overbooked so no seats
    - miss another better alternative
    - end up getting rebooked 7 hours after planned departure (5 hours after what best alternative would have been), with a long layover in the trip as well.

    I contacted customer service and was simply told that they are not reponsible for and cannot fully predict the weather. After explaining that it was human error that caused most of the delays not weather, they then apologized for the impact that weather had on my flight and thanked me for my favorable impression of their company.

    I fly quite often but have never had something like that happen. I've also only flown AA a couple times - usually avoid at all costs but this trip was booked by a travel agent.

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    That's absolutely un-acceptable. You may as well have not even told them it was human error since they chose to completely ignore the fact.

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    shitty deal dude, once i went to fort mac and the weather was super bad, I was on west yet, any how the plane was late 4 hrs, later in the month i got a 200$ refund cuz of the plane delay

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    Airlines aren't liable for weather delays (incoming or outgoing) but they sure do lots of sneaky shit sometimes. If you have everything documented (itineraries, those dot-matrix travel schedule thingies, boarding passes) and can remember the person you dealt with, check out AA's CoC and see if they've violated you/themselves, then hound them until you get... whatever it is that you're after. I've had bogus luggage fees and an entire fare refunded before, because the person behind the counter was new, untrained or incompetent. Then again, just being civil has gotten me upgrades and meal/hotel vouchers that they weren't obligated to give me. This was usually UA, CO or AC... AA along with DL were definitely my least favorite to deal with.

    I'm not sure how they would book you on a codeshare that doesn't exist (terminal wouldn't allow it), yet you say it was overbooked? Were you told at the counter or gate that you were on the stand-by list, and that you might look into other options? And there was a better (direct?) flight they didn't put you on? With seats? I'm pretty sure they're not obligated to put you on the "best" alternative, or at the very least if you're last in line or have no frequent flyer status, you'll get bumped hard. Was this with a gate agent, or customer service counter? What airport?

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    Trip insurance would only have limited scope in weather scenarios. As long as you were booked on another flight, no claim to be made. I book all my flights with my travel amex. After 3hrs I get to spend $50 on things like food. After 9pm I get another $200 to spend on any necessary items. Plus after 9pm I can opt not to travel, get the first flight next day and amex will give another $250 ($500) Won't get you home any faster, but its a good trade. Contact the customer "relations" department (email) with all the information in a professional manner, and they will likely give you some travel credit.


    "Having a war about religion is like having a fight over who's got the best invisible friend" - Yasser Arafat

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    Thanks for the replies, I will definitely check out the CoC.

    This was at the Calgary airport, the day of the bad storm we had last week. I obviously expected delays due to the weather, but not the additional screw ups by their personnel. I dealt with the agent at the check-in counter, but have since contacted customer service only to get some arrogant replies which only address the weather and none of the delays/errors that were solely caused by American Airlines staff. I have their email responses on my work email so can post them tomorrow. Essentially they just told me they are not responsible for the weather and therefore do not issue any credits/refunds or cover any expenses occurred by the additional wait. They even went so far as to give me a lesson in business by stating that travel is their line of business, and in business if you get full use of the product - which even though i was delayed 9 hours i guess i did, that there is nothing else they need to do.

    I have most of my documentation, except for the biggest screw up which was the flight they wrongly booked me on. When they found out the mistake and eventually re-booked me they had the old tickets and tore them up. For the codeshare mix up, they had booked me on a United flight that would eventually get me to my destination. When I went to the United counter to check in, they told me that AA had tried booking the flight on United's code share with Air Canada, which United no longer used. The flight was already full, so there were no seats available (but somehow there was seat numbers on the ticket, the United people had no idea how that happened). Since United didn't have seats they sent me back to AA to try and find another alternative (even though United gave me the bad news, I was pretty impressed with how they handled it, and they were super helpful going above what they needed to see if they could accommodate us).

    I fly quite often and have never had an experience like this and don't typically get travel insurance. May need to check into that for the future, or see if there is anything my credit card provides. Mine is the Aeroplan through CIBC, so I assume it may only cover for Air Canada flights, but worth checking into.

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    What was the UA flight number? Was it on the board?

    Oh and UA is my fave for US domestic They're not great by any means but they're consistently meh, which in air travel is quite welcome. Their NYC/LAX and NYC/SFO long-hauls are sweet, but their international sucks and will continue to do so until the $500mil or whatever un-"retro"-that-shit "fit" is done.
    Last edited by Grogador; 06-13-2012 at 11:48 PM.

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    The flight code was UA5559. I really wish I had a copy of the ticket now because I am trying to remember everything that was on it. It gave the United flight code, had seats, but then on the right part that is perforated it said it was an Air Canada flight. That is what seemed to cause the problems, and the United staff had absolutely no idea how AA was able to give us those tickets.

    Unfortunately, you have to submit the complaints to AA via their website, and I forgot to save a back up of what was written, so only have what they sent back.

    Here is the first reply, after I shared my detailed experience - including names of the staff that I had dealt with, making it clear that weather played only a small part in the substantial delays I encountered (it's a bit long):

    You trusted us with your valuable time and you were understandably disappointed when we didn't get you to your destination on time. There's clearly nothing more frustrating for everyone -- customers and employees alike -- than having to endure the difficulties associated with air travel when bad weather impacts our flights. From the details you provided, it certainly sounds as if the circumstances surrounding your cancelled flight made even more frustrating by the lack of assistance you received.
    When bad weather happens, in the interest of safety, we don't have too many options to get you to where you are going as planned. What we can do, however, is display a friendly attitude to help make the situation a little less trying and I'm sorry we didn't do so on this occasion. At the same time, we are glad that you took the time to share the details of your experience. Your comments enable us to see things from our customers' perspective and help us to improve.
    Although we have high service standards, our basic product is transportation. While some elements of a particular flight may be unsatisfactory, tt would be an exceptional situation in any business to give a refund when the entire product is used.
    Bad weather is not something we can overcome and the direct impact on our flight schedules is unavoidable. Accordingly, it is not our policy to reimburse our customers' out-of-pocket expenses, make up for lost time, or offer compensation when we don't operate our flights as planned. I am sorry. Nevertheless, you have my assurance that we will continue to focus on the on time departure of our flights and our customer service standards.
    We are eager for another chance to serve you -- we will do our very best to get you to your destination as scheduled and provide you with the kind of service you deserve.
    As you experienced, unexpected flight disruptions can occur when traveling by air. While you can always count on American Airlines and American Eagle to work hard to operate safely and on time, an increasing number of customers have discovered trip insurance is a desirable choice to prepare for and offset unexpected expenses related to off-schedule operations. While we don't sell insurance ourselves, we provide a direct connection to an independent insurer providing trip insurance for a nominal fee based on ticket price. The next time you book with AA.com, please check out the Allianz Global Assistance (formally Access America) website from the "Buy Trip Insurance" link on the payment screen on AA.com, or, you can learn more about this option at www.etravelprotection.com/aa.
    After that I replied again, specifically pointing out that most of my delays were caused by human error, not anything to do with weather. This was the last reply I recieved:

    It is clear from your additional email about your disrupted trip that you feel strongly about your request for compensation. However, our position has not changed and we must firmly, but respectfully, decline. It is just not our policy to provide compensation or reimbursement when bad weather impacts our flight schedules.Again, I apologize for the disruption of your plans. In spite of the difficulty in forecasting flight conditions, I wish we could have prevented the inconvenience to you. Please do not let this one incident change your favorable impression of us; we are eager for the opportunity to serve you again and to restore your confidence.
    Last edited by cjab; 06-14-2012 at 07:53 AM.

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    Had the same thing happen to me with West Jet. Was told they can't do anything based on Weather delays which is understandable, I just wasn't impressed that I was the unlucky one to get bumped off my flight to make room for those who missed it the previous night with no compensation.

    Didn't even bother to argue, they weren't hearing any of it so I just took the next available.

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    UA and AA are awful airlines. Even since Continental picked up UA last year, they haven't gotten any better.

    Try Continental though, they're not much better, but you get a meal. Along with this, their points contribute to your Air Canada/Star Alliance Elite status, which means access to lounges & zero restriction baggage world wide, which means free booze & food world wide!

    Originally posted by Arash
    Im not an idiot...

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    Ya, I'm normally not the kind to complain/argue - but in this case the staff at the airport were just so horrible in how they speaking to me and in their ability to work on their own system I felt the need to.

    I definitely won't be using them ever again, I try to avoid the US airlines where possible but in cases I can't I will do my best to stick to continental or united.

    Can you not also get aeroplan pouts for united flights?

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    Originally posted by busdepot
    UA and AA are awful airlines. Even since Continental picked up UA last year, they haven't gotten any better.

    Try Continental though, they're not much better, but you get a meal. Along with this, their points contribute to your Air Canada/Star Alliance Elite status, which means access to lounges & zero restriction baggage world wide, which means free booze & food world wide!
    UA was definitely on top in the UA/CO merger. You can't "try Continental" anymore, it's all United now. UA, AC and CO were always part of the Star Alliance, as opposed to SkyTeam or OneWorld. Member, Silver, Gold and 1k/Elite+ perks vary; check with your program Or better yet, just stay at the bus depot

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    Originally posted by Godfuader
    Trip insurance would only have limited scope in weather scenarios. As long as you were booked on another flight, no claim to be made. I book all my flights with my travel amex. After 3hrs I get to spend $50 on things like food. After 9pm I get another $200 to spend on any necessary items. Plus after 9pm I can opt not to travel, get the first flight next day and amex will give another $250 ($500) Won't get you home any faster, but its a good trade. Contact the customer "relations" department (email) with all the information in a professional manner, and they will likely give you some travel credit.
    Is that company provided? And is it amex travel services (rather than just using an amex card?). I've had amex travel through previous companies I worked at and wasn't aware of these perks.

    What does it cost an individual to get those benefits (if anything beyond an amex)?

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    Originally posted by googe


    Is that company provided? And is it amex travel services (rather than just using an amex card?). I've had amex travel through previous companies I worked at and wasn't aware of these perks.

    What does it cost an individual to get those benefits (if anything beyond an amex)?
    I have the Delta Amex Platinum. There is an annual fee and all flights get an automatic $20 surcharge for the insurance. I'm sure most airline partnered cards have a higher level card that has similar benefits.


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